Clare Jaye Turns TWO!

March 5, 2009

It’s hard to believe, and I know that all parents say the same thing, but the last two years really have gone by quickly.  This past Monday, our little baby turned the big TWO. Birthdays have always been a big deal to me and I am all for celebrating, sporting the birthday grin all day, and lapping up the attention that this one day affords each year. However, for Clare’s birthday this year, we opted for a nice intimate gathering of her closest friends, Nolan Kelly and George Wirt, at our house on Sunday morning.

Nolan and George were there with their respective parents and it was a lovely morning with fantastic food. We served what my Dad lovingly refers to as “Jew food,” (bagels, cream cheese and lox) along with mini-quiches that were a huge hit with all. Clare and I baked her cupcakes (thank you Duncan Heines) the night before and she loved that. Just mention the work “cooking” to Clare and she immediately asks for her apron and stepstool so she can assist in the kitchen. Sunday morning, before our guests arrrived, Clare and I whipped up some tasty buttercream frosting (thank you Jessie & Shelva) and in a tradition passed down for generations, I happily allowed my daughter to lick the beaters. She was in heaven.

The party was a success…a glorified playdate really with great food. Clare seems to now understand the concept of “presents” and likes opening them, too. The biggest hit was a new doll, only her second, named Emma that we bought for her in preparation for potty training. This little baby doll actually drinks and pees, although we haven’t clued Clare into that yet. We’re waiting to introduce this cool piece of functionality when we engage in potty training (stay tuned on that topic) very shortly. Clare loves Emma and has already practiced putting the doll on the potty and giving her pretend M&Ms for a job well done.

Over the weekend, I thought a lot about how different Clare is in just one year. At her first birthday, she was a new walker and was communicating with sign language. In just 12 months, she is now running, climbing, hopping, galloping, walking backwards, talking in sentences, making jokes, expressing her thoughts and narrating her life to us. Not a week goes by that I am not amazed by something that comes out of her mouth. Just last week while we all sat at the table eating breakfast together, Clare started squirming in her seat and said, “Shake your bootie.” Granted, I have said these very same words to her when encouraging her to dance to the music playing in our house. But, this was the first time she said them on her own and completely unsolicited. Justin and I shared a knowing smile over our cereal that morning as we marveled in this new addition to her linguistic repertoire. The kid is funny, I tell you.

With this birthday, we have also experienced some new TWO behavior. Sunny skies can turn to thunderstorms in about half a second with Clare. Her emotions appear to be finding their place and we have witnessed these crazy mood swings with wonder, and are happy to chalk them up to toddlerhood and the terrible twos. Of course, we are always grateful when the tantrums and tears dissipate and usually it’s as easy as distracting Clare or helping her find her voice and use her words, which we are very fond of reminding her.

On the pregnancy front, I am finishing up my 26th week and can now understand why being pregnant with a toddler at home is much harder. While pregnant with Clare, I had the luxury of sitting down whenever I needed to and could relax as soon as I walked through our front door. Things are different when there is a three foot boss in the house that requires attention, meals, and caring. As hard as it is this time around, I am ready to meet this new baby and June 14th can’t some soon enough for me.

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